How to write a budget narrative that will “wow” application reviewers:

 Details. Description. Justification.
 These are the major components to consider when completing the narrative section describing your financial need. Submitting your budget with a detailed, descriptive and justified narrative will not only thoroughly explain to the reviewers what the numbers in the spreadsheet represent, it will allow them to fully understand how you arrived at those costs, which is crucial for justifying your need. The funder will know exactly how you intend to spend the funds – item by item – and ensures you did your research and your project costs are reasonable and well thought out.

 Next, the details – they can be a road block for many people- but the sooner you start looking at the resources you will need and pricing them out, the faster your project will move from the realm of ideas into reality.

  Lastly, it is very important to be descriptive and make sure your expenses relate clearly to the project narrative. The narrative is a means to convey the specifics of your plan to the application reviewers. Remember to explain any unusual expenditures identified in the budget, for example, a fire and safety proposal budget that includes a $50,000 reserve would benefit from a budget narrative that explains: “$50,000 is reserved for the near future purchase of a new fire engine to help our rapidly growing service demands in our community.”

  Finally, don’t be afraid to use abbreviations, especially when it is important to conserve space. The guiding rule to follow is clarity throughout to ensure each reviewer fully understands your message and financial need. 

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